Happy Halloween and Fri-Yay Fun Day

Night Falls, Cat calls

The Toms are out tonight.

Moon Shines, It’s that time….

Ghosts, Goblins ,warwolves, vampires, witches,

sharpen their teeth and concoct their brew,

To hear us scream and and whine!

Pumpkins at the door to welcome us,

but sadly we can’t knock and say Trick or Treat & Chime,

Happy Halloween to all of you big and little kiddies in Covid Time!

Have a good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

BOO!


Have a spooky fun night or day whatever you do and wonderful weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping in for some tricks and treats. Halloween was always
special at my Mom and Stepdad’s where we gathered everyone from town (about 20 of us) and headed to my Mom’s house 15 minutes away where we had dinner and walked her flat streets with all of the kids and adults. We have such fond memories and sad all the kids can’t be out tonight but someday again. Thank you mom and Bob for those special memories.

❤️

Cindy

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Ding Dong Be Gone!

Tires turning 
Mud slinging
Trees falling 
Animals dying 


Lies told 
the truth cajoled
Fires fueling 
Ash burning lungs


But we have no climate change?

We can’t breath
senseless killings 
Street Riots 
Police brutality 

Segragation
People brutality 
Fear incited 
Anarchy

No Masks?

Sold down a river
for power and greed by  
A Jack Ass O’ Lantern
Rolling to implode

Ding Dong Be Gone!


Hope you got a chuckle, if not, it’s ok ….. I don’t want to hear about it. 🤣!

Thanks for reading liking (if you do of course, commenting and or sharing.

See you on Fri-Yay Funday!

❤️

Cindy

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To Be Heard and Seen

Everyday we have a choice,

Will we let ourselves get swallowed up in darkness,

Or continue to reach for the light?

It’s not easy this push to the left and pull to the right,

Even our families are in a tizzy and fight.

It seems so clear to me, and clear to them, 

That they will do anything to divide our plight.

But the question is how can we continue to be true and honest to our ideals and have a dialogue so we don’t divide and separate creating more discord and dissonance?   It’s one thing when we know someone from a distance or as a colleague or client, but it’s quite another, when it’s someone we love and care about; a child, sibling, parent or good friend.

Today is my Dad’s 86th birthday and we are on polar opposite sides in this election which isn’t easy.  It gives me the opportunity to love unconditionally, while I disagree wholeheartedly, and a chance to get my bloated nothingness out of the way as Ralph Waldo Emerson said in so many words.   What I do know is that the election will soon be behind us, and we will be faced with what is in front of us, and moving on from there is crucial, so we can create openings that unite, instead of divide.  Why is this so difficult to do?  

You can’t change the spots of a Leopard! (Cheethas) Photo by Jason Gotlib Photography; Tanzania Safari 2019

We are living in unprecedented times right now, which create unrest inside, while we try to find our center.  The bombardment claws at us internally and we feel torn and ripped apart by opposing values. We feel violated, unheard, with forces opposing each other at every level, and the decency of being human, seems to be throw to the wind.  This creates tension within, and a desire to search for meaning in our life. 

Who are we is the age old question, and even if  we knew at one point, we are forced to look again, and grapple and search for answers.   We toss and turn and move into reaction by speaking out, or shut down, because it’s just too much to deal with.  Something wants to be born and birthing is never easy.  We can fall prey to false gods or to overwork, depression, anxiety, reaction, impatience, inertia or spin like a top, bouncing off walls.  Our voice so much wants to be heard, so we yell which falls on deaf ears or we go radio silent, because we feel so powerless, wondering if our voice matters at all. These repressed feelings go underground and we think there is something wrong with us, when in fact, there is nothing wrong with us, but there is something terribly wrong in our world. 

It’s hard to have discussions when we are polar opposites.  So how do we survive this period in our lives that we are all in together and not go into reaction or no action at all?  It’s hard to side step the issues because they are glaring at us in the face, demanding resolution, which bring justice not for one, but for all.

Locking Horns: It ain’t over, until it’s over! Two Thomson’s Gaazelles. Jason Gotlib Photograpy Tanzania Safari 2019

 We all have different ways to deal with it but one way for me, is to come to my W.P. family, where I can write and get out on paper what, is so bottled up inside. I trust one of you will hear and witness me for having these feelings without being judged, and I feel validated and cared for. If one person hears us, it shifts our internal landscape and gives us hope.  It’s a gift we share in our community here, where we contribute to the well being of each other and feel understood.  We each have our own motives and agenda but we all have the commonality of writing from our hearts, to share something from our soul. 

We each have different religious beliefs, color of our skin, sexual preferences etc, but we have writing in common.  The power of our words, move people and each one of us contributes to the well being of each other.  I had this epiphany when I read something that felt like it was written directly to me, which moved me so deeply.  I had a cathartic experience where the words penetrated my soul so deeply and I felt so heard and seen that tears cleansed old wounds in my psyche and tissues.  It made me think when we come to the page and share our stories, poems, thoughts, drawings, photography, ideas and hearts, that we never know who we impact and our words have the ability to reach deep in someone’s being, across continents and transcend time and space.

Tears run down my face in streams to the river,
Grace touches my soul,
I am heard and seen.
My friends the trees, the flowers and your words hold me,
As I swing from the branches. 
The rings tell their age, but I am young and free.
How long do we hold grief in our tissue and our soul?
I am heard and I am seen, for all of my flaws. 
I stand before you naked held in space, feeling whole,
Hunger sufficed, as peace and joy fill the space, 
Taking the place where grief lives,

Tucked neatly behind my smile.
But I am heard and seen now. 
Thank you for this gift.

There is no distance in hearts that love.  We are love.  That’s why we’re here on this planet and if we can hold our tongues accountable and speak with kindness, we can hold each other together here on the page and change our future.  If we can do it here, we can map that to each soul so that we may find peace and love.  We might not change the world all at once, but one voice at a time, touching one soul at a time, rooting us back to why we are here on this planet at this particular time, gives me solace and comfort. I thank each of you for showing up with all of your trials and tribulations and sharing your stories, because you matter. 

You matter to me. You are love, you deserve love and we all need each other.  We are the stars in the sky and universe, each casting different gifts, reflecting back at each other to pave a path for love, wholeness, peace and happiness, casting light in shadows where we can all live as one. That is who we are.

Love of Elephants captured by Jason Gotlib Photography, Tanzania 2019 Safari

Thank you for reading this and the contribution you make in my life.

A special thanks to Jason Gotlib for his spectacular photography that is so heartfuld and a beautiful addition of love and support.

And Happy 86th birthday Dad, I’m fortunate to have you in my life to share our truth, even if we disagree. It’s an honor to have a chance to be truly authentic in my views, but I’m just grateful my vote cancels out yours!

In Love and always light,

Cindy

Please like (if you do, of course), comment and or share, if you are inclined,

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Fun thru Smiles and Miles

Fun isn’t always the big things we do and plan, it’s the cultivation of relationships formed and friendships born. When I pour my coffee or tea in the morning and come here to my site it warms my heart to find comments on my page from so many of you. I find myself thinking about you during the day and wondering how you are doing. I love hearing what your next amazing piece is and commenting on yours as well. It’s such a sweet exchange, that I’ve grown to look forward to.

Sometimes I’m lost in the W.P. abyss of trying to figure out how to fix something and some of you have been so awesome to help me navigate the W.P. maze. Thank you for that!!! Other times, I find out, some of you have the same issues as I do (misery loves company), so then I don’t feel so inadequate. When in doubt, blame it on W.P. 🤣 Hahaha!

Then there is someone who goes the extra mile and their comments are always so heartfelt on your page and somehow you develop a friendship, but can you really develop a real relationship on word press? My family says no and thinks I’m crazy and they don’t think I should be engaging as much as I do, but I’ve never listened to them, thankfully. Crazy, I might be; but in love and life, I choose to be me and I’ll take my chances.

So this is a little poem I made up about this special human being I have grown to know and love.

Once there was a woman from the U.S. who met a young man from India.
A chance meeting you’d say because they met on Word Press,
where everyone loves everone or so they say. 🤣🥰😊
They exchange comments; talk and zoom and discuss world affairs and habits.
He’s an engineer and she’s a yogini,
and their hours are such, that they should not have time.
She sips her wine and he drinks his whiskey and sometimes gets drunk,
racing cars and chasing after smart pretty woman.
He’s supposed to get “ringed” but she says why rush?”
They talk about caste and no sense can be made,
of this life that is tainted by greed, power and money.
He eats burgers and pizza and she lentils and rice,
such is the way of an international life.
How do you know if a friendhip is true?
I guess you never know,
but I know that I am grateful to him anyhoo.
He teaches me things, no one else would have the patience to.
Together they laugh and get down to brass tax,
because they don’t have much time,
before one of them will have to sleep.
So it’s good morning and good night!
What a perfect relationship!
We all should have one, because there’s no time to fight.

For me that someone is Kumar Harsh. I wanted to pay Kumar for his help getting my site changed but he would not take any money from me as he tells me I give him wisdom and support in his workouts, his food choices etc. I’ll never forget his comment when I said if I were 20 years younger, I could go for you and he respectfully said “If I may Cindy, I think of you more like my grandmother.” Arrow straight to the heart. Ouch! Lol. How did I get “old” (I still think I’m 20) so fast! So, I now refer to him as my Grandson. I am so grateful because my son won’t help me with W.P. because it frustrates him, my assistant can only do so much and I feel lost in the question que that doesn’t get answered right away.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

So this is to Kumar who I am so grateful to have in my life. I have had so much fun Zooming with him at God crazy hours, teaching me emojis, funny pictures, helping me get my Ukelele tuned, etc. We can lament over the injustices in the world and at home and laugh at the silliest things. I’m not sure what I have done for him but I am trying to fix him up and I have my eyes on some of you. Even though I don’t believe in arranged marriages necessarily, in this case I think my hunches are pretty good. He’s a little shy so you might need to reach out to him… just sayin, he’s available and too young to be thinking of marriage at the ripe ole age of 27 in my humble (which I never am) opinion.

When I shared the poem I wrote he said “what about the moon poem you were going to write?” I knew this very silly poem would never suffice, so I made this one for him to honor his poetry which could never compare to his, but is an attempt. I hope you like it Kumar and all of you do too.

The moon comes up deflecting the light of the sun,
Same hues different lighting,  
Colors so beautiful: one dark, one light…
Truth is all that matters when eyes shine bright,
I look in your eyes and you in mine,
And love exists no matter age, hair or skin,
Your spirits infinite wisdom, ignites my birth rite of fun,
As you come up, I go down,
As you let go, I let in,
Such is the gift of dreams coming through in colors and visions that inspire,
Giving hope for a another bright day.  

When there are never enough hours in a day to get all I need to get done finished, sometimes I think what the “hell are you doing texting or zooming with funny face emojis and stories”? However, when I laugh so hard I pee, I’m grateful for these moments where I’m free to be me and engage with my silly side, much to my families chagrin.

Please do see his website above and his new song he just featured playing the guitar.

Thank so much for reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing.
I am truly grateful for our interaction and friendship.

Blessings,

❤️😇

Cindy

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Lean in and Vote!

LEAN TO THE LEFT

LEAN TO THE RIGHT

STAND UP

SIT DOWN

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT

AND VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!

The election reminds me of this cheer we used to shout on the sidelines at games, growing up when I was a cheerleader. Now, more than other we need to Stand Up and Do Our Part. Never let our tongues diffuse into anger and separation; No one wins that way. It’s tough right now when we have never seen such lies, deception, Covid, brutality etc. But we must persevere and be the change we want to see in the world, so human kindness can restore the broken desparity of inhumanity and do our part to show up and vote. That we can do. I will admit that it’s not easy to stand in silence right now and I need to do better at being tolerant instead of being on a rant. But if you lean too far right be careful what wish for.

Here is a picture of me and one of my best friends Sue Pratt, in grade school.

Me & Sue at a school rally at our Alma Mater, Westmoor High School in 1970


Vote like your life depended on it……says Michelle Obama. It does!

Lean in and Vote!


Happy Hump Day!

❤️

Cindy

Thank you so much for reading and as always, like (if you do or course, comment and or share). I am humbly grateful for your time and read!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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Teachers of the Apocalypse

This is a tribute to all of the teachers that are staying on board and making it all work for our kids. 1 in 5 teachers have quit or lost their job because of the extreme pressure and expectations which has had an impact on their mental health and concern with Covid. They teach because they love the kids and imparting knowledge is a gift that feeds their soul knowing they have contributed to the lives of our youth. Their mission is to empower their kids to learn, grow and experience life to it’s fullest, using critical thinking skills to navigate their lives, which impacts our world.

I have picked a variety of ages to see if we might find parallels among them, no matter what grade or subject they teach.

Here’s to our teachers as we bow in gratitude and appreciation! Kudo’s to all of you and thank you so much for contributing to this important post!


Meet Angela Reinertson: Mom, Grandma, Owner of RiverStar Winery

Angela is my neighbor and lives down the street from me. Her 3 kids were roughly in the same grade as mine. The difference is her kids are all married with grand kids and mine are not but hey, I am a Cat Grandma 🤣. Angela and her husband Rob ended up taking custody of her son’s children 4 years ago and they also bought a winery around that same time. She home schools her kids and more recently started working in the classroom assisting as well. My head spins when I think about how they made this all work and she never complains for a second.

“PPE” Margaritas

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The biggest challenge doing distance learning is just keeping them on schedule.  I have Robbie who is 1st grade and Payton who is in Kindergarten and Rose is Pre-K (she is the only one who actually gets to go to school). They have staggered schedules all day so that’s a lot of logging in and out. I feel like it’s soooo much screen time and that bothers me but the children never complain. 

How has this affected your mental health?

My mental health is doing ok… some days I feel overwhelmed and can’t wait til the school day is over but other days we sail along. All I care about is that the children are safe, healthy and happy!

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I’ve always admired and appreciated our teachers, now more so than ever!  Our teachers are putting so much time, energy and effort to support the children.  We are all in this together but MAN I can’t wait til they go back to school!

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

We take a lot of outside breaks during the day so they can run around.  Sometimes they do their classes outside (when the air quality is good) I stay positive for them and I think that’s what makes them want to do their best!

Are you getting any breaks?

I don’t get many breaks during the week… my niece and nephew have been helping with the morning work twice a week and that is much appreciated. 8:15-2:00 every day is exhausting but it gets done! 


Meet Lizanne McCord

Lizanne and I have been childhood friends and neighbors in Daly City, California since we were 5 years old and went to our local public school together. She and I have remained friends ever since which is such a blessing! Lizanne teaches in the Belmont-Redwood Shires School District, in California

Lizanne and her Co-Teacher 1 year ago

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

I work with elementary school students from kindergarten to fifth grade. I work in a learning center so we work one on one and with small groups of students. Some of the biggest challenges in teaching during the pandemic were learning computer technology and all the different programs that come with teaching virtually. Also, another challenge is keeping the material interesting so that our students are engaged in the curriculum. If a student doesn’t show up at their scheduled time or chooses only to show part of their face or not to turn on their video at all, I can only control so much on my end. 

How has this affected your mental health?

How this has affected my mental health, after zooming from 8:30-2:30, my eyes feel strained and I’m ready to get away from any screen. I will take a walk and a zoom class which helps with my mental health.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

Some of my suggestions for other students are to continue to stay focus, work hard, have the attitude that this situation is temporary so make the most out of virtual learning. One suggestion I have for the administration is to teach one day or one week with students on zoom so they can experience what the students and staff experience.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

Some of the creative things I have done to make teaching more enjoyable are the following, when I start with any student, I do a daily check-in to see how they’re doing and how the school work is going for them. We start with a brain break which they can choose to walk or jog in place, do jumping jacks, or stretch. When we’re done with our 30-minute session they have a choice of doing a scavenger hunt or play I spy. I feel this helps to transition back to their classroom, after working with me.

Are you getting any breaks?

Yes, I’m getting my breaks. My schedule allows me to take a 15-minute break in the morning. I have a 45-minute lunch break also. When a student doesn’t show for their allotted time then that allows me to get other work done. I take Cindy’s Wednesday evening Yoga class on zoom. The stretching and Yoga poses helps to alleviate stress. I feel better and sleep well after taking her relaxing and wonderful class.


Meet Michelle Rickelman

Michelle is my niece and is doing an amazing job teaching all while having 3 kids and pregnant with her 4th. A girl after my own heart. Congratulations Michelle! Love and miss you!

Michelle has been teaching Early Childhood Special Education for 13 years in Riverside School District 96 in Riverside, IL.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The three biggest challenges I have come across while teaching during the pandemic include:

First, making sure each child gets what they need, since every child is unique with their own learning styles and interests. I teach 3-5 year olds, some are typically developing and some have special needs; and I am currently teaching hybrid (in-person) and remote at the same time. So, this has been a huge adjustment with figuring out how to plan and implement activities that can be done in the classroom and at home at the same time. 

Second, incorporating technology into everyday activities has been a learning curve for me- prior to this school year, I was more focused on the face to face interactions, encouraging pretend play and creative thought, and building relationships than I was on incorporating technology into my classroom. 

Third, teaching both hybrid and remote together has also increased the workload by quite a bit- it often feels as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

How has this affected your mental health?

I am blessed to have a huge support system at home, so while I definitely notice an increase in my stress level and anxiety, I feel as though I have been able to manage and juggle everything thus far. But I feel this is in large part due to my love of teaching as well- I love teaching early childhood and being their first experience with school. It is all about developing the whole child and understanding that every moment is a teaching moment. I get to help them develop a love of learning and excitement for the world around them- and the progress that each child makes during the school year still leaves me speechless after 13 years. 

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I would just suggest for everyone to be patient with themselves and with others; and to really lean on others for support when needed- don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

Some of the creative things I have done to make teaching more enjoyable are the following, when I start with any student, I do a daily check-in to see how they’re doing and how the school work is going for them. We start with a brain break which they can choose to walk or jog in place, do jumping jacks, or stretch. When we’re done with our 30-minute session they have a choice of doing a scavenger hunt or play I spy. I feel this helps to transition back to their classroom, after working with me.

Other Notes:

I think teaching through the pandemic has really helped foster a closer parent-teacher relationship and has really helped parents/families feel more involved in their child’s education- especially since those students who are doing the remote option need a parent near to help them with the technology pieces.

Teaching has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding jobs! And though I was hesitant at first about teaching in-person and remote to 3-5 year olds, who learn best through hands-on concrete experiences, seeing the kids smiling faces through the computer or their smiling eyes from the smile hiding under their mask makes it all worth it.


Meet a San Mateo County Preschool Director

This interviewee has decided to stay anonymous. They have been working in Early Development for 25 years, and been a Director for 9.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

The hardest part about teaching right now has been finding the sweet spot where we can make it as enjoyable and educational for the kids, and stress-free for the parents. We have taken big steps to ensure each child’s’ safety, as it is always the priority. Making sure kids can be kids, be curious and be goofy in this period in time has been a challenge. We as teachers and parents are learning something new everyday.

How has this affected your mental health?

Anything that puts our families at risk will take a toll. But getting to work with children makes it all worth it. This new layer of stress is remedied by incredible staff, parents and their families. There’s no amount of stress that makes it not worthwhile.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

Amid the chaos of this pandemic, it is easy to forget to find joy in learning and community. Stay safe and stay optimistic.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

We do parent classes in the evenings where we serve wine. Does that count?

Are you getting any breaks?

Of course, I have a healthy work-life balance, though I find myself thinking about being in the classroom in my free time.


Meet Renee Georgakas

I am so thrilled to once again feature my daughter Renee here and acknowledge her dedication to teaching and her innovative and creative ways she brings fun in the classroom.

Renee teaches 8th Grade Science at Rolling Hills Middle School in Campbell, California

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

While Distance Learning may have a few perks, such as teaching with a new kitten in my lap or switching a load of laundry in between classes, the challenges have been immense.  The amount of time that we have all spent adapting our methods of teaching, learning new technology, and modifying science labs to work virtually has been overwhelming to say the least.  After 10 years of teaching, it feels like starting over in an entirely new world.  Connecting with students has never been more challenging and frustrating, as it is a daily battle to convince 8th graders to keep their cameras on during class.  Staring at dark muted screens, without the ability to see and hear student reactions makes you feel more like a robot some days, and less like a teacher.  It is still the highlight of my day when the occasional student unmutes themselves to ask how I am, share a response, or just tell me a random story about their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have some fantastic students this year, who are engaged and interactive, but it has never taken me this long to get to know my students on a more personal level.  This is the biggest reason that I am eager to get back to the classroom in person, but only when we are really ready, and have the ability to ensure the safety of all people on campus.  

Aside from the endless planning, the grading, and state “engagement reporting” procedures have been quite out of control, especially as a middle school teacher.  In addition to taking daily attendance, we are required to enter 2 grades daily for each student (one for engagement and one class assignment).  With 164 students, this in and of itself takes a good chunk of time to get done.  While we may be at home teaching, it feels like there is always something more to do, and like I am constantly falling behind in one area or another. 

How has this affected your mental health?

Mental health is just fine.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

The one thing I know is that the focus should be on the students, and making distance learning as engaging as possible.  This is my number one priority.  I have made virtual labs to keep students engaged, but also try to do simple at home labs with household materials to get the students exploring science and off screen for a bit during the day.  I give students brain breaks, use interactive online platforms for student responses, and daily breakout rooms for team collaboration.  Despite the challenges we are all doing our best to make sure that students are actively learning on a daily basis.  It may not be ideal, but we are all making the best of this situation.  The daily motto in my class is “This is all new, we are learning together.  Things may not be perfect, things are going to go wrong, but we will make it work.”  I feel that through this time, both teachers and students need to be patient and understanding of one another.  It is through this mutual respect and support that we will make this work for as long as we must.

Are you getting any breaks?

Breaks? What breaks?


Meet Lauren Ruth

https://www.lauren-ruth.com/

Lauren and my daughter Renee met when they were in grammar school and we are close family friends.  Lauren is a talented artist as well and a dear friend.

Lauren is Assistant Professor of Art at California State University, Chico.

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

Connecting with students is more difficult online. In my sculpture classes I provide students with continual feedback and can gauge their level of engagement in real time. There isn’t a good substitute for this online. I can’t read the room on Zoom. It is also difficult to give demonstrations and provide feedback on three-dimensional artwork using a screen. Of course, we can’t use the wood shop or metal shop either. Fortunately, sculptors can use other materials, like fabric and found objects, so we have options for making art in the online format. When I need a silver living, I say that this is forcing artists to become more resourceful and creative.

How has this affected your mental health?

I am stressed and overworked. I put nearly all my time into my online classes, but it never feels like enough. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m not comfortable with my teaching being merely “good enough.” I think a lot of educators feel this way. I was stressed and overworked before the pandemic, but now it’s more acute.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

I am teaching a graduate-level seminar and I love our discussions over Zoom! When the group is smaller and everyone participates, it is a joy to connect with students. We are all hungry for intellectual stimulation. 

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

I am teaching a graduate-level seminar and I love our discussions over Zoom! When the group is smaller and everyone participates, it is a joy to connect with students. We are all hungry for intellectual stimulation. 

Are you getting any breaks?

Break? What break? I haven’t taken a day off since August!

Thanks for including me and looking forward to the post! Also, I’ve attached an image of one of my recent sculptures. If you’d like to include it, a caption for the image is below:

Lauren Ruth, Chimeras, 2020, Laser cut acrylic and digital print on vinyl, 20”W x 5”H x 1/8”D (Image courtesy of the artist)

Meet Aria Lindsay

Aria is the daughter of a friend of mine who is also a teacher, who lives in my community. She is a teacher as well but decided it was best not to teach this year in Covid. We are blessed to have you in the teaching world Aria!

Aria teaches in a public high school in Davis, California

What are the biggest challenges teaching during the pandemic?

There are many huge challenges associated with teaching during a pandemic! I teach Animal Science, Floral Design and Biology at a large public high school in Davis, California. All of these classes traditionally include a great deal of hands-on work. During the regular school year we spend a huge portion of instructional time working on the school farm, creating floral arrangements, and doing hands-on labs. The pandemic has put a hold on all in-person activities and made me completely rethink how to run my classes to best serve all of my students.

One of the biggest challenge of teaching during a pandemic has been connecting with my students in a meaningful way. When I am in the classroom, I have a lot more time to work with my students and get to know them one-on-one. This constant interaction leads to the organic community building that occurs each year in my classroom. This community building has proven especially important for my students who are English language learners and my students with special needs.

Distance learning has forced me to rethink how to build a community in my classroom that fosters student buy-in. It has made me place intentional community building at the forefront of my educational objectives. I now dedicate a considerable portion of my daily instructional time to facilitating social interaction between my students. While this cuts into my instructional time, the extra engagement that I am getting as a result makes it work every second! It has contributed to my students’ social emotional learning, allowed me to reach my disengaged students more effectively, and helped me get to know my students over the course of the school year.

How has this affected your mental health?

Teaching during the pandemic has been a challenge for my mental health. While the hours that I spend every day actually teaching have been reduced, the workload has increased substantially due to the curriculum overhaul that has had to take place. I explained to one of my friends earlier this week that I treat every class period like an hour-long interactive workshop. Historically, I have been able to reuse projects and lesson plans from previous years. With the new online formatting, each lesson plan and project requires substantial tweaks or a complete redesign. This means that each class meeting takes me a couple hours to prep and practice for before delivering a new lesson or introducing a new project. I am working longer hours than I ever have, which cuts into my ability to practice self-care, work out, cook, clean, and otherwise take care of myself. I am concerned about burnout because I know that the rate that I am currently working at is not sustainable long term. I have found solace in many of my fellow teachers, who have bonded together in online forums and are more open to sharing resources than they were previous to the pandemic.

What suggestions do you have for other teachers, students and administration?

My main suggestion for anyone involved in distance learning is to focus on the new opportunities that this format provides. While it is easy to fixate all of the things that we as a community are missing out on, the thing that has kept me going has been focusing on things that I can expand. I have used this time to develop the social media outreach and online visibility for my student organization. We now have active Instagram and Facebook accounts that have allowed us to build new relationships with community stakeholders, student members, and parents. This virtual format has also allowed my students to get more industry exposure. I have found that this format lends itself well to bringing in guest speakers, who now don’t have to take time off of work to speak to my class over Zoom.

Additionally, I have taken extra time this year to integrate new technology into my classroom. I have spent more time than usual teaching my students about digital citizenship and how to use various online platforms that I previously overlooked during traditional classroom learning.

What creative things have you done to make teaching more enjoyable?

In order to make teaching more enjoyable and impactful for both my students and myself, I have focused on making all of my curriculum accessible in an asynchronous format for my students. This has resulted in a shift to more project-based learning. All of my assignments are posted on Canvas (or school’s learning management system) along with supporting documentation and recordings of my class sessions. While this is not required by my school, I feel passionately that every one of my students should be able to access my curriculum on their own schedule. This has helped to address the opportunity gap and resulting achievement gap in my classroom. While no system addresses this perfectly, I have found this to be a good start!

This solution along with a very flexible late work policy makes teaching more enjoyable because I know that my students educational needs are being met, even if their home situation or work schedule prevents them from fully engaging in live Zoom sessions or turning in work on time. It also helps me answer a lot of common questions from students, families and administration that many educators are currently facing.

Are you getting any breaks?

The short answer is no. When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just have to work really hard to make lemonade. I am giving it my best shot and hoping that I come out of this pandemic stronger than I was at the beginning.

The thread I hear from all of them is that they are doing their best to infuse the class to the best of their ability as they are struggle to find ways to take care of themselves. We are so blessed to have their committment and dedication to serve our youth.

Thank you all for your time and contribution! I know that this took time you don’t have much of but we are all extremely grateful to you. I know I personally am and I can assure you my readers will be as well!

Bless you and bless us all!

Thanks for Reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing,

❤️

Cindy

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Star Dust Fri-Yay Fun-Day

Today I’ll sprinkle Star Dust in my coffee and eat my cheerios.

I’ll wear my bat woman cape for extra protection and put my touch stone in my pocket.

I’ll move slow instead of hitting the ground running and I’ll treat me as good as I do my animals.

I’ll wear my purple top because when you are old and wise, you wear purple, or so they say.

I’ll climb back in bed and do my cat cow and sleep the day away.

I’ll forget my routine for a change and break free; turn off my devices and listen to music and play my ukulele.

I’ll start my day with chocolate and end with chocolate with a cherry on top and maybe I’ll even watch a movie for a change.

I’ll hide from the phone and play hookie for the day and wait for the fog to go away and the light to fill my soul.

I’ll turn up the music loud and dance like a rock star.

I’ll swim naked in the pool and and head to the hot tub by moon light.

I’ll drink champagne to celebrate the fact that I got up, and the earth blessed me another day.

I’ll take in Vitamin D from the sun.

I’ll sing under the moonlight and thank the planets and the stars in the galaxy for a spectacular show and Star Dust they blessed me with.

Tinker Bell sends her fairy dust and is ready to come out to play!

Tinker Bell's Pixie Dust -Black Background | Tinkerbell, Pixie dust, Fairy  art

But now there are bills to pay, animals to feed and clients to see.

Have a really great Friday and weekend and be kind to yourself because if you aren’t who will be?!!!!!

Do you have any fun plans real or imagined?

Thanks for reading and liking (if you do of course, comment and or share.)

Star Dust of Love, Laughter and Joy,

❤️

Cindy

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Don’t Confuse Net Worth W/ Self Worth

This piece was done by a dear friend / client of mine, Lynn Cornish and greets you upon entry of her home, welcoming visitors, to remind them of what matters most in life. Lynn lives in Portola Valley, California with her 2 dogs Ozzie and Bubba who are the light of her life. Lynn has been painting for 30 years and paints with 20 other artists in a warehouse in Redwood City, California. Her art is sometimes provocative, whimsical and always vivid and bright, capturing the essence of what happens on any given day.

Lynn with Ozzie and Bubba

This particular piece “Don’t Confuse Net Worth W/ Self Worth” is inspired by the area in which she lives in Silicon Valley, the dot com capital, where 1 % of the richest population resides. It could be easy to get swept away with power and greed but her message speaks to the heart, reminding us that truly Wealth is Health and not indicative of people’s contentment or happiness.

Lynn knows first hand that wealth does not equal health as her brother Robby suffered with mental illness all of his life. She tried for years to the best of her ability to help him with therapy, programs, housing, finances etc. He lived as rich a life as anyone could have with his serious condition of schizophrenia. He frequented thrift shops often and drove the car she gave him proudly and everyone knew him by name. He told many stories in lucid times and his favorite line was “It’s nothing to write home about” and laughter would fill the air. Everyone still laughs when they talk about this story and although I never met Robby, I feel as though I knew him by the stories that she and her brothers and sister in laws share when they get together in fond memory. Robby had an episode as is often the case with mental health issues that landed him in jail on a 5150 in March of 2015. I personally reassured Lynn that this was a good thing (I know first hand with family members that suffer from mental health issues) because he would now get the help he needed which is most often the case. She was trying to post bail because she was worried sick about him but sadly and tragically he was murdered in jail by his roommate who also suffered mental health issues on St. Patrick’s Day March 17th 2015.

Robert Anthony Hearn

Lynn makes generous donations to mental health organizations along with many other worthy causes.

Mental Health treatment, care and respect for each individual cannot be overemphasized in a world where 1 in 4 suffer from mental health issues and trauma. It does not discriminate and one never knows if or when one of us could be part of this percentage.

Lynn’s house reflects her fun loving, giving and vivacious personality that captivates everyone that comes in contact with her. Her walls are a gallery that infuse happiness and joy while looking at her art and her expansive view of the bay and majestic mountains.

Most days you will find her hiking the hills with the deer, turkeys and extraordinary wild life that are protected in her area.

Here’s Lynn‘s website if you want to check it out, just for fun. I am a HUGE fan and the lucky recipient of piece that hangs in my entry.

The one above is ear marked for another one of her friends but we are all battling her for it or urging her to make a lithograph for our homes as well. If you are interested in that please let her know.

This beautiy hangs in Lynn’s Dearest friend Wendy’s home
And this one in my entry

One day when working with Lynn I saw this in her garage and she said she was painting over it because she didn’t like it. I grabbed it so fast it would make your head spin and I LOVE IT. What’s more is my husband and I don’t agree on art at all AND WE BOTH LOVE IT!!! That speaks volumes!!!

A side angle view with Buddha standing guard

Look closely here…. no irreverence intended but even Buddha agrees this year has been F_____. Just keeping with the theme of things from last post. Lol!!!!

As always, thanks so much for reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing. I’m most grateful for your time and kindness.

Here’s to our Wealth in Health with Love and Always Laughs,

❤️

Cindy

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Silver Linings of Covid

Life has thrown us heartache and grief, yet we must continue to look at how we will show up and hold our hearts sacred, mourn the dying and reach out to those in need while we find The Silver Lining during unfathomable times. 

Quote and Photo by Cindy~ This Stupa from Bali greets clients upon entry. Although the rock is from New York, representing 911, it applies here as well

We are called into uncharted territories while we make our way into the next chapter of our lives. 

Regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of life, we are all being challenged to find our rudder and compass while we navigate these uncharted waters.  They can be turbulent no matter what your age, profession or living arrangements.  

Inertia can set in and create immobility and confusion, not knowing which direction to go in, or doing wheelies if you will, popping from one wheel to the other.  Or we start spinning into rapid fire without a direction or even asking what direction you want to be going in.  All of a sudden it’s as though a tornado hit and you are in the eye of the storm with no clue how you got there, on a desert island, alone.

You may be forced out of what you have known for so long and this creates uncertainty and confusion like being in a rip tide, lost at sea. 

Wherever you find yourself, it’s no doubt different than where you were and most likely it’s a double edge sword.  

I love what Bharath said in his last post which made me laugh and anytime I can laugh these days I welcome it!

“Times: I’ve changed. Do you like what I’ve become? No. Do I wish to go back? Hell no! Don’t ask too many questions, don’t ask for directions, I am alive and so are you; cross my path, wave at me and I might wave back. I’ve changed”.

Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

I for one have chosen not to do massage at this time which is a big portion of my business currently, even though 42 counties in California allow it indoor with modifications.  I have invested oodles of time and money in a profession that I’m not sure I will want to continue in which is mind boggling, but time will tell how I choose to move forward.

My staff is reluctant to start as well and we have taken a huge financial hit in this arena but we cannot open, even though our pocket books argue.  We will and must listen to our moral compass when we know there will be another wave hitting in winter; even though our competitors are starting back. Money will never be our God, sacrificing integrity over greed.  Instead we have all managed to find ways to shift and be creative while we wait for the storm to pass.  I know of 4 people ( friends of friends)  that have died and 12 that have been injected in various degrees. One was a near death experience where he came back into his body and he is using an inhaler and he is only 42. My heart aches for your losses and my heart holds yours while you grieve. 

We are rewarded in life by following and listening to our hearts and tapping into our internal resources while lining up with the truth of the Law of Attraction ( basically what we need comes into fruition with intention and follow through).

Listen to your heart!

I’ve been embarking on the venture of Zooming with Clients, blogging and writing which has been incredible in some aspects but has come with a lot of  hiccups, not being computer and tech savvy.  It has changed my relationships with others that are generally up close and personal, tactile with lots of interaction, to one that is more isolating and introspective.

A little Help from my Covid Kitty’s Ollie and Star

I savor my quiet time but I find that interruptions throw me off kilter where before I was a genius at multitasking and juggling lots of balls.  I have holed away and I find it annoying to be in anyone’s presence that distracts me, primarily because I lose my train of thought.  

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with all of this but I am being led by my intuition even though it makes no sense at the moment.  I do check in with myself to see if I should jump ship and the answer is “No, just keep going”.  We don’t always know what the gifts are in the moment but through time, they make themselves clear. 

This Quote by Cherie Carter-Scott Mother of Life Coaching where I was certified
My Silver Linings of Covid:
  • I’m loving taking pictures, which I’m not that good at but having fun with.  I am featuring other friends and clients photography and art which is so inspiring.
  • I am learning some incredible new skills to live in a technological world in which there is no escaping.
  • I am able to spend time with my beloved Harry, my 14 year old King Charles Spaniel who is lame before he retires to the rainbow bridge.  
  • I trained my once feral cat to adjust to indoor outdoor life and my dog Hunter, not to eat either cat.
  • 2 of my adult children have lived with me since moving out in college which has allowed us to redefine our relationship as adults .
  • I’ve had some time with my mom and Dad.
  • I let the dust and fur stay on the ground and laundry pile up.
  • I have saved a ton of money but not going buying gifts and eating out. 
  • I’m taking a writers workshop.
  • We’ve had a bumper crop of tomatoes and zucchini  this year and I’ve made lots of tomato sauce for winter, which I never have time to do.   
  • I’ve made some Youtube videos of my own for classes.
  • I’ve enjoyed some great hikes in our hood.
  • I’ve discovered some great musicians thanks to my friends’ generosity.
  • Getting your comments, reading your masterpieces of poetry, thoughts, pictures etc has been such a gift to me and enriched my life.  It has made me a better writer and person.  I have learned so much culturally and in history that I am embarrassed to say I didn’t know. 
  • I have made some amazing new friends on WordPress from all over the world who have even zoomed with me to help me.  Thanks Kumar!
I ASKED SOME FRIENDS TO GIVE ME THEIR SILVER LININGS OF COVID AND ONE SAID “NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN BY SILVER LINING, COVID SUCKS” 🙁. WHILE THIS IS TRUE, WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT THE BLESSINGS SUBTLE AS THEY MAY BE.

Silver Linings from Friends and Family:

  • I’ve saved a lot of money living at home with my parents with meals but I’m drowning in anxiety working everyday really hard not making a damn dollar and I don’t see a way out… I want to buy a house.
  •  I’m lucky to have my girlfriend at my side steadfast.
  • I’ve tapped into my organizational skills and cleaned my whole house.  It eases my anxiety. 
  •  I learned that I don’t need to hang dry my jeans and all my workout clothes all over my bathroom and closet because they don’t shrink in the dryer like I  thought for the last 40 years.  
  • I like that I don’t have to rake the sand traps when I’m golfing as I visit lots of them😬
  • My golf score has never been lower
  • I’m living my best Covid life with no commute working online, getting daily exercise and staying a month at a time in different remote spots for free of charge all while in business school online.
  • The freeways are not crowded and the air seems cleaner when there’s no smoke and I smell more of the wonders of the land, plants and trees.  
  • I’ve explored lots of new recipes in my cookbooks because we aren’t going out to dinner. 
  • We’ve enjoyed supporting many musicians for our Instagram shows and they are so appreciative for the support as they’ve had no opportunities to perform for six months. 
  • I’ve done more hiking in our beautiful area and feel blessed to enjoy the beauty all around us. 
  • I am trying to appreciate a slower life with more time to contemplate myself and the world around me.  I am also working on becoming more aware of discrimination and racism in this country, including examinations of my own shortfalls. 
  • My discovery of how important it is to get outside each day to exercise. There have been periods of time that I did not get outside for any length of time for weeks or months!
  •  Life actually slowed down!
  • we will have had 2 kids living with us for extended periods of time. Family time!!!!
  • taking over 30 online classes on various topics. 
  • learning how to Zoom to connect. 
  • less traffic. 
  • love being home!!!
  • playing piano
  • My hockey net
  • YouTube Music
  • Poetry
  • I am appreciative of what my mom has done for us for years. The way she cooks food inspite of being tired so I try to help her with chores some days.

So what about you?  What is your Silver Lining of Covid?  

Anything special you are learning about yourself?

As always, thanks so much for reading, liking ( if you do, commenting and or sharing).  I am so grateful for your continued support truly!

Blessings and love while we light our path on our journey’s,

❤️🙏

Cindy

website|Facebook|Instagram|Youtube

Murder Mystery 36th Birthday

Hi Fri-Yay Funday Friends,

I hope you’ve had a good week and are ready to chillax on the weekend or at least part of it. So, what do you do in Covid for your birthday? I have a theory which is you barely used this year, so it shouldn’t count! My daughter loves theater and dressing up. She has a theater background and has been the Activity Director for the middle school where she teaches, so we surprised her with a Zoom Murder Mystery Party. I have great ideas but lack in execution. So my son, “Peter”, much to his chagrin, arranged it all. It was totally worth it because “Sally” had a ball and she forever thanks you, and so do we. 💋

Sally Meets Bobby…. Is she the murderer?
And however will the murder unfold?

The Cast

Can be Played with 8-12… We had 9
Could Kevin have killed Bobby to get the Baseball Scholarship that Bobby would have gotten?
Kevin says; “I would have liked to knock him off but hey winning is everything and without Bobby, there is no win.”

The Birthday Girl Sally, Guessed the murderer and she was over the moon. Here she is below with her brand new birthday gift to herself. What better time than in Covid when you are locked in your appartment all by yourself.

“Sally” AKA Renee and her new Covid kitty Casian
Just Chillin…. but just wait, “I can’t wait to shred your couch” 😹
But how could you get mad at me, with this face?!

Review of the Game

Sally: “Loved it because I was with my family and love to dress up & I guessed the murder.
Peter:My head was spinning it was so confusing and so much work to set up I should have been the murder.”
Clerical Katie: “I can’t believe I didn’t get any bribes.”
Dolly: “I was actually out 50 bucks. Only use the free version. You have to do everything anyway including m.c. it.”
Coach: I cashed out winning 350.00 and didn’t do a thing but buy the decorations.
Cindy Sensational: “The devil made me do it.”
Gabby: “It was great to see everyone and celebrate Renee’s birthday together even though we were miles apart.”

Although we always have fun together we would NOT reccommend this game as it was way too much work! If you do want to try one, get the free version!

As always, thanks for reading, liking (if you do of course), commenting and or sharing.

Have a great weekend!

Blessing and Love,

🙏❤️

Cindy

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